Have you ever seen photos processed with alternative photography styles and wanted to learn more about them and make your own? Today we’ll be covering how Texture Effects 2 can be used to create alternative photography styles like Cyanotypes, Gum Bichromates, and Instant Film Transfers. This tutorial will show how to make your own effects from start to finish and how to customize pre-made effects from the Community. I’ll also be telling you a little about the history and style of each alternative process!

Learn how to accomplish the following in this tutorial:

  • Workflow process for Texture Effects 2
  • How to create an effect from start to finish with Texture Effects 2
  • How to make a digital Cyanotype, Gum Bichromate, and Instant Film Transfer
  • Use the Community
  • Save an effect in Texture Effects 2
  • …and much more!

Let’s get started!

1. Cyanotypes

Cyanotypes are one of my favorite images to create! I’m sure you’ve seen them before with their beautiful blue tones on a variety of papers and fabrics.

How They’re Traditionally Made: Cyanotypes are a 50/50 chemical composition of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. This magical solution is then applied to a receptive porous surface. After drying in complete darkness, the paper can be used with negatives to print photographs and even everyday objects to create photograms.

How to Create in Texture Effects 2: To create your own Cyanotype without chemicals and complicated darkroom processes, simply open an image in Texture Effects 2 and select New in the upper right hand corner of the application to create a new effect. I’ll be using this image of my snarky cat as an example:

cyanotype_opennewimage

Step 1: Add a Basic Adjustment

  • Add a new Basic Adjustment (Shift A) and take the Saturation down to -1.00 to make your image black and white.
  • Cyanotypes have a lovely range of deep blues to white. I made my shadows a bit darker (-0.15) and my highlights brighter (0.05) to create more dynamic tone.
  • Cyanotypes are also very crisp and sharp as they are usually created with direct contact with film or objects. I brought the Clarity up (0.15) to make my overall image sharper.

cyanotype_basicadjustment

Step 2: Add a Texture
Cyanotypes are usually printed on watercolor papers. These papers have a variety of textures.

  • Select Add Adjustment and add a Texture (Shift T).
  • Select Paper and Textiles from the style menu. Browse through and find a paper texture that you like and select it. After trying out different textures, I selected the first one.
  • Remember, we are working in black and white right now. Go ahead and desaturate the texture by using the slider (-1.00).
  • I used the Opacity slider to make the texture more subtle (0.35). Use this slider to increase or decrease the texture over your image.

cyanotype_texture

Step 3: Add a Color Overlay
Cyanotypes are beautiful shades of blue and white. To add that color to our image, we will add a Color Overlay.

  • Select Add Adjustment and choose Color Overlay (Shift O).
  • The default color (white) will make the image look milky. To change the color, click on the color swatch. The color selector will appear. Choose a blue shade that appeals to you. Cyanotypes come in many different shades so there is no right or wrong blue color swatch.
  • To intensify the color, I bumped up the Opacity to 0.40 and changed the Blending Mode to Color.
  • Select ‘OK’ on the Color Swatch when you are done selecting and blending your Blue.

cyanotype_coloroverlay

Step 5: Add a Border
Cyanotypes are made by painting emulsion onto paper. That means that there are usually brush strokes and uneven edging around the image. Luckily, we’ve included some borders made from actual painted emulsion so it’s easy to achieve this effect.

  • To add a Border, select Add Adjustment and then Border (Shift B).
  • There are two types of borders in Texture Effects 2: opaque borders and borders with transparency. I chose a border with transparency and then refined it to fit our style by updating the Size (1.04), raising the Opacity to 1.00, and updating the Blending Mode to Luminosity.

TIP: If you want a white border, use an opaque border and change the blending mode to Division.

cyanotype_border

Step 6: Add another Basic Adjustment
To refine the look of our image, let’s add another Basic Adjustment.

  • I made my image brighter by turning up the Brightness (0.05), deeper by increasing the Shadow (-1.00), sharper by increasing the Clarity (0.10), and cooler by adjusting the Temperature (-0.10).
  • To increase the range in tone even further I added an Enhancement to the Basic Adjustment. I brought the Shadow slider down to -0.40 on my enhancement. Check out the image below to see my settings!

cyanotype_basicadjustment2

Step 7: Save Your Effect
To save your effect, click the Save icon in the upper right hand corner. Choose a title and categories to save along with your settings. You can now use this effect anytime on your local machine and upload it to the Community to share with other users!

Step 8: Save Your Image
To save your image, click Save As in the bottom right hand corner. Name your file and select where you want it saved and file type.

This was just a funny picture, edited to look like a Cyanotype. Look how stunning this style is when used on beautiful images:

Topaz Texture Effects 2
Cyanotype with opaque border and different blending mode.
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Cyanotype by jodi_robbins
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Cyanotype with different transparent border.
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Photography by Jodi L. Robbins with Cyanotype effect and different transparent border.

If you want to use my exact settings, login to the Topaz Community and search for the shared effect “Cyanotype Print” by jodi-robbins.

2. Gum Bichromate

Gum Bichromates always gave me a hard time when I was in school. They are beautiful if created properly, and a frustration when things go wrong. Digitally creating these is so much more fun for me than the traditional way.

How They’re Traditionally Made: Gum Bichromate is a photographic printing process from the 19th-century. Dichromates, which are sensitive to light, are an oxidizing element. Gum bichromate is a way to make beautiful painterly images from negatives.

How to Create in Texture Effects 2: To create your own Gum Bichromate effect simply open an image in Texture Effects 2 and select New in the upper right hand corner of the application to create a new effect. I’ll be using this image of a classic car dash:

gum_opennewimage

Gum Bichromates are printed by layering colored print layers on top of one another. You have a lot of freedom in processing as you can have only 1 color or multiple colors. I really like the impact that two colors have in a Gum Bichromate so we’ll get started with a Split Tone.

Step 1: Add a Split Tone Adjustment

  • Add a new Split Tone Adjustment (Shift S).
  • To make this image look like a 2 color Gum Bichromate pass, I brought the Highlight Saturation up (0.55) and made the Hue warmer (0.05).
  • I then set the Shadow Saturation (0.65) and the Shadow Hue (0.65) to make the image more blue.
  • I then updated the Balance (-0.10).

gum_splittone

Step 2: Add a Texture
Gum Bichromate prints have a lot of texture. They have film grain as well as paper textures. The first texture we’ll add will be a double whammy: grain and texture all in one!

  • Select Add Adjustment and add a Texture (Shift T).
  • Browse through the options and find a texture that you like and select it. I chose a finely detailed rust texture.
  • I customized my texture by adjusting the Brightness (0.10), the Contrast (0.25), the Detail (0.09), and the Saturation (0.15).
  • To finesse the adjustment, I set the Blend Mode to Overlay.

gum_texture

Step 3: Add a Border
For this image, I am making it appear to be a two pass process, meaning the paper received two separate coats of emulsion and were exposed twice. I want to create a real looking border that appears to be painted on like chemicals would be.

  • Select Add Adjustment and Borders (Shift B) to add the first Border.
  • I chose a painted cyanotype border from the transparent borders.
  • To customize this look, I maxed out the Detail (1.00), maxed out the Color Strength (1.00), and bumped the Color up (0.70).
  • I also changed the Blending Mode to Luminosity.

gum_border1

Step 5: Add Another Border
We need to add a second Border because we are making an image that looks like it was processed twice.

  • Add another Border (Shift B). I chose the same painted border but flipped it Horizontally.
  • I then used Size and Move to line up the two Borders.
  • To customize this second border, I lowered the Saturation a tad (-0.02), maxed out the Color Strength (1.00), and bumped the Color up (0.09).
  • I also changed the Blending Mode to Multiply.

I now have this fantastic double color painted border on my image:

gum_border2

Step 6: Add a Texture
Gum Bichromate prints are usually printed on heavy duty papers because they are soaked in water and chemicals repeatedly. We want our digital Gum Bichromate to have the same type of look.

  • Select Add Adjustment and add a Texture (Shift T).
  • Select Paper and Textiles from the style menu. Browse through and find a paper texture that you like and select it. I chose a heavy watercolor paper texture.
  • To refine the look, I added Contrast (0.10) and Detail (0.20).

gum_texture2

Step 7: Add another Basic Adjustment
To refine the look of our image, let’s add another Basic Adjustment.

  • I made my image brighter by turning up the Brightness (0.27), deeper by increasing the Shadow (-1.00), bumping up the Highlight (0.55), and sharper by increasing the Clarity (0.05).
  • I also changed the Blending Mode to Overlay.

gum_basicadjustment2

Step 7: Save Your Effect
To save your effect, click the Save icon in the upper right hand corner. Choose a title and categories to save along with your settings. You can now use this effect anytime on your local machine and upload it to the Community to share with other users!

Step 8: Save Your Image
To save your image, click Save As in the bottom right hand corner. Name your file and select where you want it saved and file type.

Topaz Texture Effects 2
Gum Bichromate by Jodi L. Robbins
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Gum Bichromate Effect
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Gum Bichromate Effect
Gum Bichromate Effect
Gum Bichromate Effect

If you want to use my exact settings, login to the Topaz Community and search for the shared effect “Gum Bichromate” by jodi-robbins.

3. Instant Film Transfer

And last but certainly not least, Instant Film Transfers! I love making these so much! And now we can make them in Texture Effects 2 with digital images.

How They’re Traditionally Made: Instant Film Transfers are made by exposing certain types of instant films, such as Polaroid 669, and then tearing apart the film before it gets a chance to develop on the included print surface. The goopy side of the instant film is adhered to wet watercolor paper and, after some pressure from a hand roller, is removed to show dreamy and vintage looking prints.

How to Create in Texture Effects 2: To create your own Instant Film Transfer, simply open an image in Texture Effects 2. I’ll be using the example image from Texture Effects 2 for this tutorial:

iftopenimage

Step 1: Download an Effect from the Community

  • Refine your search by locating the search features in the upper right hand corner of the program.
  • The Source button has 3 options: Local, Community, and Both. Select Community to see all the effects made by other users.
  • Filter effects by… Allows you to search through Collections, search by keywords, or by Tags. Search by keywords and type in Instant Film Transfer. Then press Enter.

iftsearchcommunity

  • Click the Download icon in the bottom right of the effect. The effect “Instant Film Transfer” is now on your local machine!
  • Change the Source back to Local and select Downloaded from the Category list.
  • You can now see that the effect is on your machine.

iftdownloaded

Step 2: Select the Effect and Customize

  • Select the effect Instant Film Transfer. You can now see a preview of the effect on your image.
  • To customize the effect and give it your own touches, click the center of the effect on the black icon with sliders.

Step 3: Customize the Border

  • The first Adjustment in the effect is Borders. Expand the Borders adjustment. To change the look of your effect, try different borders with transparency.
  • You can also explore transparent borders with different blend modes.

iftborders

Examples:

Step 4: Customize More Adjustments

  • You can also expand other Adjustments and customize them. Try reordering Adjustments, selecting different Light Leaks, trying new Textures, and trying new Blending Modes.

Step 5: Save Your Effect
To save your effect, click the Save icon in the upper right hand corner. Choose a title and categories to save along with your settings. You can now use this effect anytime on your local machine and upload it to the Community to share with other users!

Step 6: Save Your Image
To save your image, click Save As in the bottom right hand corner. Name your file and select where you want it saved and file type.

Use this effect as a starting point to make easy, fast, beautiful images. Look what I made with a few simple adjustments to the effect:

Updated Border and added Double Exposure for Clouds
Updated Border and added Double Exposure for Clouds
Updated Border and added Double Exposure for Bokeh Effect
Updated Border and added Double Exposure for Bokeh Effect
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Updated Border and added Double Exposure for Clouds
Topaz Texture Effects 2
Updated Border and Updated Texture

Thanks so much for reading about how to create alternative photography styles with Texture Effects 2! I hope you learned a little today and had some fun with Texture Effects 2.

I also want to personally invite you to check out Topaz Labs on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram and see what other users are creating. We also offer free Webinars and have a great Discussion Forum if you’re interested in learning more!

About Jodi L. Robbins

Jodi is currently the Art Director of Topaz Labs. She has been an artist and photographer for over 15 years, starting with black and white film photography and alternative processing. After completing her BFA in Studio Art from Southern Methodist University and her Masters in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked in product photography for companies such as Heritage Auctions, Neiman Marcus, and the Dallas Cowboys.

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